If Big Red Robe (Da Hong Pao) had a brother this would be him.
It makes sense being that they are both Wuyi Oolongs. This one is unique.
Of course all teas are but this one in particular has a unique scent. New car smell? Earthy, woody, new car.
A very delicate flavor. Hits your palette and is gone before you know it. It is definitely earthy but somehow hard to pinpoint exactly what earthy flavors I am tasting.
Smooth mouth feel and golden amber color along with the unique flavor profile make this a must try.
Here’s the scoop!
Leaf Type: Oolong
Where to Buy: White2Tea
This tea does not appear to be available now but click below for oolongs that are.
Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!
Leaf Type: Black/Oolong
Where to Buy: Verdant Tea
This blend is inspired by the connection we see between fine chocolate and fine tea. Our Laoshan Black and Wuyi Big Red Robe have strong natural notes of cacao that we wanted to bring out and play with. The end result is a rich, sweet and sparkling brew that brings out the best in both the tea, supported by the cacao nibs. Marigold provides a richness that complements the sweet flavors of chamomile, cinnamon and fennel, while the mint gives just enough of a clean sparkle to counterbalance the flavor of raw cacao. Enjoy this curious brew hot or cold and add a touch of buckwheat honey for a real treat.
Learn more about this tea here.
Thanks to my SororiTea Sister TheLastDodo for the sample! I’ve actually been quite curious about this one for a while (pun not intended), but Verdant isn’t a company I’ve had much chance to explore and I’m wary of blends with chamomile so getting the chance to try a small quantity of this one was just perfect!
The dry leaf smells faintly of milk chocolate, and has even fainter fennel and mint notes as well. I know from the ingredients list that the mint in this blend is Spearmint; but based on scent I wouldn’t be able to differentiate.
Steeped this one up hot; it’s a lot softer than I expected and very, very smooth. The chocolate is the focus here and it’s accented quite nicely by the cinnamon and the fennel which are subtle but add a delicate, sweet spicyness. The natural malt from the Laoshan Black is delicious; and the spearmint creeps in right at the finish to add a lovely, refreshing coolness. Also, thankfully, I can’t taste the chamomile!
All in all, this was a great tea! It had a rich flavour, but not an in your face one and with the chocolate and mint pairing it made me think of a really fancy, well executed tea version of an After Eight chocolate. Mmm!
Leaf Type: Oolong
Where to Buy: Verdant Tea
It took Verdant Tea 4 months of sampling to find a Big Red Robe unique and delicious enough to really justify importing. This incredible tea from the rocky cliffs of Wuyi mountain offers a side of Big Red Robe that most people have never seen. Usually all you get is caramel, chocolate and floral notes. This goes far beyond. In early steepings, there is an intriguing sensation on the tongue, almost like the metallic vibrations of a bronze cast bell, or the idea of fast moving water flowing over slate. As the tea opens up, there is a perfectly synthesized note of orange and elderberry that dominates, and lingers in the back of the throat. In middle steepings, the elderberry orange flavor splits into fruity wine grape notes, hibiscus-infused dark chocolate, and molasses cookies with crystalized Thai ginger. In late steepings, the thick beany and malty flavor of Laoshan green comes through, combined with the lilac sweetness of Tieguanyin. One of our favorite aspects of this tea is that it was expertly roasted in a way that lets so much complexity come through the caramel notes of any darker oolong. If you are interested in oolongs, or seek a very comforting yet engaging tea, give this a try for a new perspective.
The first couple of times that I tried “Big Red Robe” Oolong teas, I wasn’t too thrilled. I found the smoky notes and strong earthy quality to be a bit too much for me. Since that time, I have re-embraced the joy of brewing my Oolong teas in my gaiwan (a tool I once stowed away because I thought it to be too much of a hassle), and this has allowed me to become better acquainted with and even become friends with the Big Red Robe.
That is not to say that I now do not experience the smoky and earthy tones of this Oolong, but, by using short steeps in the gaiwan, I find that these notes do not overwhelm the cup the way it had in the past. Also noteworthy is that I now utilize the “rinse” or reawakening of the tea leaves, which helps to lighten that first infusion just enough so that I am not overwhelmed by earth and smoke.
Following that rinse, the first two infusions of this Oolong delivered a lovely, complex cup that was all at once fruity (peaches and raisins), earthy with a touch of dark, dry cocoa powder, and possessed the slightest wisp of smoke. In the background I could taste hints of caramel and honey. The infusions that follow deliver more of a floral taste. A distinct, tangy citrus note hits toward the tail and lingers into the finish. The caramel develops well by the time I’ve reached the fourth infusion – it is sweet and luscious. The fruit flavors have redefined themselves: the raisins taste a bit more like currants while the peach becomes more subdued, allowing for the citrus-y profiles to emerge.
I love the complexity of this tea. I found myself eagerly awaiting each infusion to see what flavors it would bring. I’m really liking what I’ve tried thus far from Verdant Tea!